At one time, I really did feel as though I had a hole in my soul. I really didn’t know how to communicate it though. For that matter, I had no clue what was missing in my life. This story starts with the name of my blog.
The short answer to why I named my blog “Not Just Laurie” could be that it will be about my family and friends, and well, not just me. But that is truly only a small part of the reasoning. I don’t like labels. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, pet-owner, and homeowner. Need I go on? Knowing those things, do you truly know who I am? Of course not. Social media accounts should reflect the personality and give one clues about the subject. However, often they provide an opportunity to paint a very different picture. My desire is that my blog will provide a completely transparent peek into my life and through those glimpses, readers will learn, grow, be entertained, laugh, cry, and be a better human as a result.
Miniature Laurie was a mess.
When I was a child, I lived with many family members and moved a lot. Between Kindergarten and fifth grade, I attended thirteen elementary schools, then two middle schools and four high schools. I was not in a military family. I joke that my mother didn’t like to pay the bills, so she moved. When life got tough, she would run away and leave my siblings and me with family or friends.
It was hard for me to form friendships at school or in the neighborhood. I was the oldest sibling and seldom felt like I was truly loved. So I retreated inward. I was shy and quiet and usually only had one friend at a time. My paternal grandmother was one of the great influences in my life. She brought us to church and taught us about being good Christians. She loved us unconditionally. My maternal aunt was the one my mom called when I asked about God and she led me to Christ. She was also the person I confided in for many years after my mom died.
What was I missing?
As an adult, my life was a mess. Without realizing it, when things got tough, I quit. I didn’t run away. I learned from my mother’s actions that running was not a good thing to do. But I had never learned to cope with difficult issues. I made bad decisions continuously. When I had my oldest son, I felt that I needed to provide a good example for him and go to church. But every time I heard a sermon, I felt the need to respond to the invitation and pray the prayer of salvation over and over. I felt like something was missing in my spiritual life. I felt empty, thus the “Hole in My Soul.” The Associate Pastor told me I doubted my salvation. That was not it! I had no idea what I was missing and no one else could help me figure it out.
So I went through the motions.
Many years, marriage and two more children later, we started attending an average sized local church. The hole seemed smaller but still haunted me from time to time. I searched and prayed, to no avail. It felt as though my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling. I reached out to the pastor. He encouraged us to get involved. I heard something during that time period relating the Dead Sea to Christians. You see, the Dead Sea is not “dead” for lack of life-giving sources. It is fed constantly with fresh water from rivers and streams. It is dead because it has no outlet. As Christians, we must have an outlet for our faith. We must serve others to truly be fulfilled. It helped. Some.
And then comes grace.
A new pastor came to the church and began teaching a great deal on grace. I now know that I had been living my entire life in an attempt to please everyone. I knew Jesus came to save us and I knew He was the vehicle to salvation but I knew nothing of His grace and mercy. Guilt and condemnation had been a prevailing force in my young life. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. I spent years retraining my brain to tell myself I was loved, appreciated and highly favored by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I felt, for so many years, that I did something wrong for my mother to leave over and over again.
There is a song that rang true for me many years ago with a line about “a God-shaped hole inside of us that only HE can fill.” I realized that there had been a hole in my soul. Although I was “saved,” I missed a big part of the relationship that went with that salvation.
Grace is defined as “undeserved favor.” I think of my children when I think of the grace of God. There were times when they were toddlers and did something bad, but they were so stinking cute that I had to hide my face so they would not see me smile as I disciplined them. I think that is how God sees us. We screw up so big! But He sees us and can’t help but smile because He loves us so much. He wants to take us into His arms and tell us so.
I No Longer Have a Hole in My Soul.
Ask God to teach you about His grace and mercy. Ask Him to show you just how much He loves you. You see, “Not Just Laurie” is my way of sharing with you that it is not all about me, but Him. It is about my desire to love and serve the people around me, that He sends my way. Coincidence is not something I really believe in. Instead, I believe that God orchestrates our lives through our decisions and actions.
I would love to know your thoughts on God’s grace. Please leave a comment or send me an email.